ZS Associate Reading Comprehension Quiz 1

Question 1

Time: 00:00:00
Sound the alarm! The kingdom of letters has admitted Trojan horses: James Frey, JT Leroy, Misha Defonseca, Margaret B. Jones, Herman Rosenblat, and now Matt McCarthy, portions of whose baseball memoir, the New York Times reports, are “incorrect, embellished or impossible.” The watchmen have let down their guards.

I write: Hold your horses. In the rush to diagnose these fake memoirs as symptoms of a diseased culture, we have failed to consider an equally plausible alternative. What if the exposure of fake memoirists is not due to an increased frequency of lying, but rather to our increased ability to root out liars and hold them accountable for their verisimilitudes? Perhaps the outings of these hoaxes mark not a blurring of the line between fact and fiction, but a further demarcation.

Indeed, it may be helpful to remember that the novel was born from exactly such confusion. One of the standards by which the earliest novels were judged was their ability to convince readers that their narratives were, in fact, real. Authors deployed several tricks to scaffold the illusion. 'Robinson Crusoe' was “written by himself,” according to the novel’s title page, which omitted Daniel Defoe’s name. Samuel Richardson’s novel 'Pamela', an attempt to instruct in good conduct through entertainment, was written as a series of letters penned by the heroine. In his preface to the novel, which excluded his name altogether, Richardson included several real letters from friends to whom he had shown the manuscript, but he changed the salutation from “Dear Author” to “Dear Editor” and even, writing under the guise of “editor,” praised “Pamela’s” letters. However, this was a lie, but not a hoax. Richardson wanted his novels to be read with "Historical Faith", since they contained, he believed, "the truth of the possible- the truth of human nature". Richardson’s authorship was revealed shortly after Pamela’s publication, but rather than serving time on Oprah’s couch, he was hailed as an innovator of the novelistic form.

Whereas novels were unashamedly fake memoirs at their conception, our recent hoaxes suggest that the line between the genres, once drawn, cannot easily be erased. This is in no small part due to the Internet’s surveillance. All along, historians had raised questions about Misha Defonseca, who claimed to have survived the Holocaust by living with a pack of wolves, but the engine of her downfall was her former publisher Jane Daniel’s blog. James Frey’s sine qua non of the fudged-memoir genre, A Million Little Pieces, was debunked by the website The Smoking Gun, which posted his actual arrest records and compared them to Frey’s embellished retellings. Deborah Lipstadt used her blog to gather evidence against Herman Rosenblat’s memoir.

If anything, you could argue that the fact-checkers are doing too good a job. There seems to be some risk that, in attempting to hold memoirs to journalistic standards of factuality, the watchdogs miss the forest for the trees, fixating on minor details in books whose general pictures are correct. The New York Times includes in its dossier against Matt McCarthy disputations by teammates who McCarthy alleges threatened children and made fun of Hispanics, as though their denials of having said such self-incriminating things were more trustworthy than McCarthy’s accusations. When Jose Canseco published his baseball memoirs Juiced and Vindicated, reviewers caviled over minor details and unsubstantiated claims, including that Alex Rodriguez had used steroids. Recent events have proven the gist of Canseco’s memoirs largely correct.

Indeed, it seems unlikely that, say, every claim in Casanova’s The Story of My Life would hold up to such scrutiny. And yet, if we knew this were the case, would we excise it from the canon? Writers’ enormous talents can sometimes render moot questions of their works’ factuality; our fraudsters, meanwhile, attempted to compensate for their meager talents by actually inhabiting their bloated fictions. They suffer not an excess of imagination, which can illuminate even the most mundane experiences, but a retreat from it. And yet simply because they lost their handles on the truth does not mean that the culture also has. Maybe the symptom of our age is not the fake memoirists themselves, but the catching of fake memoirists. In which case: Sound the church bells! The traitors are routed! The watchmen won!

Which of the following is a suitable title for the passage?

How to write a memoir

How to write a memoir

The age of literary fraud

The age of literary fraud

Who is afraid of fake memoirists

Who is afraid of fake memoirists

Writing in the age of the internet

Writing in the age of the internet

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Question 2

Time: 00:00:00
Which of the following is the author unlikely to agree with?

There isn’t more literary fraud in our age. More fraud is coming to light due to the Internet’s surveillance.

There isn’t more literary fraud in our age. More fraud is coming to light due to the Internet’s surveillance.

The line dividing novels and fake memoirs was never clear.

The line dividing novels and fake memoirs was never clear.

As long as the main or essential part of a memoir is correct, it does not matter if lesser details do not stand up to verification.

As long as the main or essential part of a memoir is correct, it does not matter if lesser details do not stand up to verification.

There exists now a widespread, diseased culture of literary fraud.

There exists now a widespread, diseased culture of literary fraud.

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Question 3

Time: 00:00:00
With regard to the novel ‘Pamela’, the author states that Richardson’s artifice “ was a lie, but not a hoax”. What does he mean?

It was an unintentional deception that contained the truth of human nature and was hence acceptable to readers.

It was an unintentional deception that contained the truth of human nature and was hence acceptable to readers.

It was just a ploy to capture the imagination of the readers with the truth of the possible.

It was just a ploy to capture the imagination of the readers with the truth of the possible.

It was a deception perpetrated simply to make money.

It was a deception perpetrated simply to make money.

It was a mere prank, and did not generate public interest.

It was a mere prank, and did not generate public interest.

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Question 4

Time: 00:00:00
The word ‘verisimilitude’ in the passage is farthest in meaning to

absurdity

absurdity

plausibility

plausibility

authenticity

authenticity

credibility

credibility

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Question 5

Time: 00:00:00
Direction for Q5 - Q10 -  Read the passage below and answer the following questions with reference to the given context.

Supposing half a dozen or a dozen men were cast ashore from a wreck on an uninhabited island and left to their own resources, one of course, according to his capacity, would be set to one business and one to another; the strongest to dig and to cut wood, and to build huts for the rest: the most dexterous to make shoes out of bark and coats out of skins; the best educated to look for iron or lead in the rocks, and to plan the channels for the irrigation of the fields. But though their labours were thus naturally severed, that small group of shipwrecked men would understand well enough that the speediest progress was to be made by helping each other-not by opposing each other; and they would know that this help could only be properly given so long as they were frank and open in their relations, and the difficulties which each lay under properly explained to the rest. So that any appearance of secrecy or separateness in the actions of any of them would instantly, and justly, be looked upon with suspicion by the rest, as the sign of some selfish or foolish proceeding on the part of the individual. If, for instance, the scientific man were found to have gone out at night, unknown to the rest, to alter the sluices, the others would think, and in all probability rightly think, that he wanted to get the best supply of water to his own field; and if the shoemaker refused to show them where the bark grew which he made the sandals of, they would naturally think, and in all probability rightly think, that he didn't want them to see how much there was of it, and that he meant to ask from them more corn and potatoes in exchange for his sandals than the trouble of making them deserved. And thus, although each man would have a portion of time to himself in which he was allowed to do what he chose without let or inquiry - so long as he was working in that particular business which he had undertaken for the common benefit, any secrecy on his part would be immediately supposed to mean mischief; and would require to be accounted for, or put an end to: and this all the more because, whatever the work might be, certainly there would be difficulties about it which, when once they were well explained, might be more or less done away with by the help of the rest; so that assuredly every one of them would advance with his labour not only more happily, but more profitably and quickly, by having no secrets, and by frankly bestowing, and frankly receiving, such help as lay in his way to get or to give.

When a dozen men are cast away on an imaginary island, the best educated would look for metals in rocks because:

metals can be used to make weapons.

metals can be used to make weapons.

such an island probably has unexploited resources.

such an island probably has unexploited resources.

he may find it beneath him to dig or cut or make shoes.

he may find it beneath him to dig or cut or make shoes.

he is suited for such work.

he is suited for such work.

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Question 6

Time: 00:00:00
The author states that any appearance of secrecy or separateness would instantly and justly be looked upon with suspicion. From this statement we may infer that:

what is secret is not what is separate

what is secret is not what is separate

secrecy is not exactly the same as separateness

secrecy is not exactly the same as separateness

it is natural to be suspicious of secrecy

it is natural to be suspicious of secrecy

it only takes an instant for a relationship to deteriorate

it only takes an instant for a relationship to deteriorate

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Question 7

Time: 00:00:00
The instance of the shoemaker who refuses to show his source and asks for more corn and potatoes, is an example of:

a strong bargain.

a strong bargain.

unfair practice.

unfair practice.

the system of barter.

the system of barter.

the intent to make trouble.

the intent to make trouble.

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Question 8

Time: 00:00:00
According to the author, whatever one's work might be:

hardships are going to be part of it.

hardships are going to be part of it.

one cannot keep complaining.

one cannot keep complaining.

one should expect others to assure of help and advance our labours.

one should expect others to assure of help and advance our labours.

one must offer help to others in order to receive help.

one must offer help to others in order to receive help.

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Question 9

Time: 00:00:00
The author's belief is that for progress to happen:

a team should consist of people with multiple talents.

a team should consist of people with multiple talents.

co-operation among team members is essential.

co-operation among team members is essential.

one must deal with those who are secretive.

one must deal with those who are secretive.

transparency among all concerned is mandatory.

transparency among all concerned is mandatory.

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Question 10

Time: 00:00:00
The writer makes a hypothesis, which can be related to:

communities in general.

communities in general.

an imaginary island, rich with resources.

an imaginary island, rich with resources.

an ideal world of talented people.

an ideal world of talented people.

a primitive and unsophisticated world.

a primitive and unsophisticated world.

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